Saturday 18th KICC was a reggae rendezvous with Jamaican artists Etana, Luciano and Richie Spice for the government sponsored project Dobba Festival.
The green and gold Rastafari flags, overly long dreadlocks, Khaki suits, Gideon boots, combat attire and African beads were the order of the night. The distinct smell of green herb filled the air and a large percentage of the revelers were on their khat tact to calm nerves and enjoy reggae music.
Though with little advertising, the concert attracted a crowd of about 3-4000 reggae adherents. The setup and boom sound by Mo-Sound Events was satisfactory with fascinating graphics spiraling on large displays.
The concert performances kicked off at 11:30 pm with Etana hitting the stage with the song Jah Chariot. Dressed in an immaculate white gown, her vocals filled the air than the whole place went berserk. Backed by a live band- 5th Harmony, who are well known through touring with Richie Spice, Etana gelled perfectly with them with her golden voice. With the help of the crowd, she cleared out an hour with songs like ‘’I’m not afraid, Richest Girl, People Talk and Reggae’’. The icing on the cake was when she did covers to Morgan Heritage’s “Nothing to smile about” and “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley. By then ‘Ital’ fellows were struck by her beauty and skills on the mic.
Luciano otherwise known as Jah Messenger was up next and trust me, he was ready to take people to church. Kicking off with “It’s Me Again Jah” this had a deep connection judging by the uproar of the people. As he went through his catalog of major hits, interjections of preaching and speaking of righteous living were sprinkled all through. It was interesting to see him kneel down and pray for the people of Kenya.
Midway in the performance, Luciano invited C.S of Communication Joe Mucheru to speak about Studio Mashinani initiative- which was the reason the Jamaican artists were flown in; but before he could get his words out, boos lingered and he had to escape to allow Luciano to go on. That was a super spiritual set that Luciano played and I think it sets him apart from the rest.
Richie Spice was last on stage at about 2 am. From backstage, he recited a prayer as a ritual. Happy to work with his band, the track “Blood Again” was his opening vocal. It was infectious as the whole place was caught in a frenzy. I realized that reggae has a deep-rooted place in the 254 that will not budge anytime soon.
Richie spice and his background singers went over an hour and half, jams like “Earth A run red, black like tar, world is a cycle, brown skin, ghetto girl” all which the crowd was addicted to like a drug. The live band made everything sound heavenly and it would be a rip off to hear such rejuvenating music on CD Playback.
The Dobba Fest had the potential to rake in over 10,000 fans but since the due marketing process was not adhered to, the numbers were far from impressive. Hope the promoter will took notes.
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